GENRE: Erotic Romance • Fantasy • Fiction • Gay
LENGTH: 8,745 words
There are tales of dashing knights and blushing ladies, and there are stories of bravery bound to become legend. Then there's the life of a mercenary.
Four swords-for-hire -- Giovanni, the supposed magician; Solister, the armored giant; Casic, the virtuous fighter; and Farrbiner, the drunken healer -- try to make their pockets heavy and their grief light. On their way to fame and fortune, or maybe just notoriety, they encounter every twist and turn the criminal underworld can throw at them. In a world full of double-crosses and shady motivations, can't a man just find a warm place to thrust his sword?
In Book 1: The Weeping Spear, the four mercenaries set off in search of a legendary weapon of myth for a desperate client willing to pay dearly for the spear. Can they work together long enough to take back the weapon from the bandits who nabbed it? Or will what they don’t know about the spear be their undoing?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
“I assume you’ve heard of me, the legendary Giovanni Alder-Rabinas.”
Giovanni’s smile slid across his face like a slick half-moon.
“Would that I had,” was the lackluster response of the serving boy, who gave a curt smile back -- without teeth -- and went over to another table to serve a group of ruffians whose hands were overflowing with coin.
Giovanni eyed their catch out of the corner of his eye. It was easily over a hundred pieces of queens-gold and could have been even more. From their look the men could only be mercenaries, but a job netting so much gold was unheard of. Maybe once upon a time in some fantasy land, but even the monarchy was tightening its purse strings since the drought. Then two of the great mines had collapsed and of course there was also the business of the dragon ...
“Did you say you were Giovanni Rabinas?”
His head whipped around and he met the voice with a smile that didn’t falter too much when he saw that it belonged to a woman. Her voice was deep and sultry. Her violet dress’s sumptuous layers languished off of her body. It complimented her playful brown eyes and dark skin. She looked gorgeously wealthy and that meant that whatever she wanted from him, she was in a position to pay for it.
“Giovanni Alder-Rabinas, madam,” he corrected gently, then added, “as a member of the Second Echelon of Magecraft, ‘Alder’ is my official title.”
“Oh?” she said, with a little nervous laugh. “I’ve never met a true mage before. Most people who can craft spells these days are mutts and half breeds. To find someone with pure mage’s blood, well that’s quite an honor.”
“Please, madam. It behooves me to be modest. After all, not everyone means us mages well,” he replied in a graceful whisper, then looked around meaningfully at the eyes that their conversation had attracted.
She nodded her understanding and sat down at the table across from him. A woman dressed as she was in a bar such like that had already drawn quite a bit of attention. It meant that whatever business they were to conduct would have to be done quickly and he would have to escort her out, lest she be robbed within moments of their parting.
“Ser Rabinas, er ... Alder Rabinas?”
He laughed and placed a hand on hers. “Giovanni is fine.”
“Oh. Well then ... Giovanni. I must admit that I’ve heard of you. A cousin of mine contracted you and your companions, I believe to retrieve their son a few summers past -- Ardo, do you remember him?"
He remembered Ardo well. He was a strapping young man of nearly twenty who he had rescued with a little assistance from his fellow mercenaries. The young man was locked in the depths of a rank cave where he was plied with dark spells and foul draughts by an "admirer" who wished the boy to love him. The fiend was felled, of course, and the lad returned to his family, but not before Giovanni had milked every ounce of his appreciation. It was easy to see why he had been taken. In fact, Giovanni had thought of kidnapping Ardo himself after that.
“It was nobly done.” He stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “And how is the boy doing now?”
“Very well. In fact, he’s marrying his childhood sweetheart, Karisa.”
“Is he? Well, I hope his character is a match for her,” he said smoothly. “Now. What brings you to a place like this, madam? Clearly you wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t something urgent at hand.”
“You are perceptive, of course, Alder. My name is Altalise Montefiore and my husband is the Warden of the Queen in this region. Recently something rather ... embarrassing has occurred. An object was stolen from our manor and we need it returned, desperately.” She paused to wipe her eyes -- growing wetter by the moment -- with a lace handkerchief. “The object is one of the famed Montefiore treasures."
She lowered her voice even further.
"The weeping spear ...”